Women in Music 2019

Lady Gaga May Have 'Ruined' Cohort White Shadow

Lady Gaga May Have 'Ruined' Cohort White Shadow

After collaborating on nine songs for Lady Gaga's "Born This Way," including the title track, there's plenty of interest in White Shadow. But the Chicago-based DJ, producer and electronic music artist says the Gaga experience may have spoiled him for other potential pop projects.

"Yeah, she might have ruined my life on that, 'cause it's so much fun to work with her," White Shadow (real name Paul Blair) tells Billboard.com. "The world is about collaboration, and she's 100 percent involved in the creative process. That makes it difficult for me to figure out how to work with other people that just want to get a track or a beat and have you go on your way. I don't know if I can do that. So I don't think I'll make an album for, like, another girl pop singer. I might be terribly depressed if I tried."

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White Shadow -- who was recommended to Gaga by some of her Monster Ball Tour dancers who heard him spinning at a club in Hollywood -- may not have to worry about anybody else, though; it sounds like Gaga is keeping him plenty busy. "She's always working on stuff," he acknowledges. "I get weird messages all the time -- 'Hey, I feel like writing. Send me some stuff,' and I'm like, 'OK...' I don't know how it pans out until I actually get it back."

While he's basking in the Gaga spotlight -- "Obviously people are treating me and my music a little different," he notes -- the Ohio-born White Shadow, who spent his teenage years in Detroit and became part of the city's groundbreaking techno scene, has also dropped "I'm Killing Me," a five-song EP of his own music for free on his web site, djwhiteshadow.com. The music, he notes, is "not anything different than I was doing before" -- the final track, "Born in Detroit," pays homage to techno's roots -- but the Gaga notoriety compelled him to offer something up for the newly curious who are coming his way.

"I wanted something I could give people for free, but that had my stamp on it," White Shadow explains. "I've always made music and put it out to DJs and stuff, but not really on the Internet for people just to grab. So this is the kind of music that I make and have always made. I'm so lucky with Gaga and her pop sensibility, being able to write such great melodies and songs; my tough-edged stuff and her soft-edge stuff worked out in the middle. I didn't want people to think I was necessarily going to be making a bunch of pop music -- not that that's bad, but I didn't want people to think that's all I was gonna do."

White Shadow is also showing what he's got on the IDentity [cq] Festival tour, which gets under way Thursday (Aug. 11) in Noblesville, Ind. The multi-stage trek will run through Sept. 10 in George, Wash., and White Shadow says he's looking forward to bringing electronic dance music to mainstream amphitheaters for a few weeks.

"I think it's gonna be cool," he predicts, "a bunch of wacky kids going out and playing music for other wacky kids. There's a bunch of great acts on the roster. I was just in Charlotte, N.C., at the beginning of July and people were really stoked...'cause they never have a chance to get something like that. I've seen Lollapalooza for the last 10 years. I've done the Detroit electronic festival (Movement) 10 times since the first one. But Charlotte, N.C., and some of these other places don't have an electronic music festival, so those are the places it's going to be the most fun."


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